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Pandora's Box


Directed by Enrique Pardo
Texts by Nick Hobbs

With Angela Bullock, Zoe Crowder, Nick Hobbs, Faroque Khan, Kristin McIver and Dan Skinner.

opened January 2001, at Dartington College, Devon

Pantheatre UK conducted a series of workshop residencies in London (Brady Arts Centre), Liverpool (LIPA and John Moore's University) and Guildford (Farnham, Farnborough and Godalming Sixth Form Colleges) on Pandora's Box and sexual politics.

This project come out of the “Twin Peaks” workshops directed by Enrique Pardo in London (late 1999). With a wink at David Lynch, the idea refered to Tragedy and Comedy, the two founding “peeks” of Western theatre, and through them, to the extraordinary tragi-comic odd-couple formed by Euripides and Aristophanes.

A London-based performance project, it explores the myths of Prometheus, with the figure of Pandora (and her famous box) as central commentary.

Director's notes

Pandora's Box

Pandora was created as a tug-of-war between two not quite matched top-dogs: Zeus and Prometheus. The latter, an upstart Titan, had been trying for some time to outwit the ruler of Olympus. His rap was idealistic: he wanted to improve the condition of those hard-working, earnest creatures called mankind. Zeus messed his plans up by creating womankind. He had all the gods and goddesses pitch in with a gift and a curse (Pan-dora means "all-gifted"); the result was a woman, beautifull but curious, who took the lid off Prometheus' ideals (opened the famous Pandora's Box) and supposedly ruined the goody-goody life of mankind.

We are clearly not taking sides with Prometheus. Presented like this, the story could be the feminist unmasking of those titanic robots stitched together by male romantic ideologists: right and left-winged monsters who murdered millions in the name of a better and cleaner future. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot - but also Hitler, Mussolini - as titanic children of Prometheus?

Is romantic idealism at core male "fore-thought"? (pro-metheus actually means "fore-thinking"). Goethe certainly took sides with Prometheus... Is this how so-called Good turns into Evil? How the Spirit kills? Prometheus' megalomania is not unlike that of his Biblical cousin, the Christian Christ: sacrificial heroes who wanted to ‘save' humanity. Prometheus was chained to a Caucasian mountain where Zeus' eagle tore out his liver and ate it, daily. Curiously, gossip also attaches a woman to the Christian Christ: Mary Magdalene. And a jar! (a perfume jar in her case).

But, what about Pandora? Is she only cute, kitsch and nasty - as professor Livernois (no pun intended on Prometheus' liver) puts it: "a dumb bitch before she opened the box - the comedy - a whinning bitch after she opened the box - the tragedy"? Contemporary novelist Anne Rice has her as the ultimate sexy vampire. (Mind you, the title of the biggest Sado-Masochist journal in the U.S. is called "Prometheus!)" Are we dealing with the nemesis of Sophia Dominatrix - never quite killing the case by suggesting there might still be some hope left? Or is she simply the superior daughter of Aphrodite, bringing beauty and pleasure to this world, upsetting religious and political joy-killers. Notice, again, that she is not unlike her biblical cousin, Eve, responsable for the so-called "fall" of humanity.

The impossible Pandora-Prometheus couple is in fact a ménage à trois, a love triangle involving Prometheus' brother, Epimetheus, whose name means "after-thought": his rationality comes after his impulses. He "falls" for Pandora. Or do we have it all wrong? After all, Adam recieved a lesson in pleasure and knowledge from Eve: who is now deriding Epimetheus for falling in love? I suspect yet another Jehovian-Promethean plot.

The "Pandora's Box" performance project will bring these issues and characters to a head, with no easy answers. It will be a choreographic and imagistic prism through which to look at different, and even opposing facets of the myth, including the way it sufaces in contemporary events. The result on stage will be both lavishly visual, pictorial, and literary. The notion of "choreographic theatre" applies here first and foremost to how these disparate elements are put together on stage, to how images and ideas, classical references and contemporary issues, physical theatre and text, can dance together.

Enrique Pardo, 8 juin 2000

Company Members
Angela Bullock
Zoe Crowder
Nick Galen / Hobbs
Faroque Khan
Kristin McIvern
Dan Skinner

Angela Bullock is a performer and co-founder of Twisted Stocking. Angela specialised in physical theatre and choreography for her degree at Dartington College of Art. Twisted Stocking`s adventures have produced two touring productions: the psychedelic Groove and the stark Exposure - highly adult, visual, argumentative - and very female! More recently the company has successfully produced two T.I.E projects where the children worked with a trained crew of artists mounting shows in historical site-specific contexts: 1998 School Rules OK& 1999 Trials and Innovations.

Zoe Crowder was born in Sussex in 1974, Zoe was educated at the Maechal Hall Rudolf Steiner School, where she experienced enormous, idealistic pleasure in acting. Two years as a receptionist in London clinched her career choice and three years' training at the Cygnet Theatre followed. Zoe also runs workshops for children, and is planning to study movement in Java.

Nick Galen is an actor, singer and writer. Pandora's Box is one of several Pantheatre performance, workshop and festival projects he has been involved in and he continues a long-standing programme of study with Enrique Pardo.

Faroque Khan is an actor / director / teacher of movement & theatre and an accomplished martial artist. He comes from a Ugandan-Pakistani background and is based in Glasgow. His work has taken him throughout Europe, Asia and America. His teaching experience is considerable. Training includes a BA In Community Arts, the Ecole Jacques Lecoq and Enrique Pardo & Pantheatre.

Kirsten McIver was born in Dunedin, Aotearoa. By the time she reached teenagehood had travelled the extremities of her country's South Island, in the pursuit of the study of life. On route she wrote poetry, worked in cafés, farms and orchards. She was accepted for The New Zealand Drama School; Toi-Whakarri O and graduated in1997. Kirsten currently facilitates workshops at St Bride's Community Centre (Edinburgh), is devising a show with an unemployed group set to tour Primary schools, and teaches drama classes at the acclaimed St Mary's Music School.

Daniel Skinner trained at The Speech School in Sussex which provided the ground for a rigorous and inquiring approach to voice performance and performance text. He is a founder member and artistic director of The Rose Theatre Company, and has been touring internationally as an actor since 1989. Over the past five years has been developing ways to work in theatre with the interior 'Other', giving workshops in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Australia, Canada and the USA. He is currently studying for an M.Phil in Performance Studies at Dartington College on the theme of multiple identity and shadow.